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Reflections While on the Run Pt 4

Event: “The OG Algorithm as Collective Memory Curator” – The Advanced Research Collaborative (ARC), CUNY Graduate Center, New York, NY

Date: Thursday, October 26, 2023

Kicks of Choice: Paraboot Michael “Smokey Suede” (you gotta do shoes, too!!!)

Thoughts captured on November 1, 2023


Good people,

Before “K for the Way” dropped, there were two significant moments that happened in March and April 2023.


One of the most humbling achievements of March 2023 was that I was awarded an Advanced Research Collaborative Fellowship for Distinguished CUNY Scholars. As one of five CUNY-selected Fall 2023 ARC Scholars, I was also named the “Alcaly Bodian Scholar” for my work in the research area of “Collective Memory.” This fellowship allowed me to be on leave for Fall 2023; you can imagine how that was perfect timing, given the fact that “K for the Way” was released in September 2023. So one of the main reasons I was able to engage in such a vigorous launch schedule was because of the ARC Fellowship.


My research talk was called “The OG Algorithm as Collective Memory Curator.” In this presentation, I was able to reflect on the importance of the DJ as the original Hip Hop curator, sonic critic and the true OG algorithm. This project allowed me to use the song “FOOTPRINTS” by A Tribe Called Quest to decipher how Hip Hop sampling practices hold the sonic memories and auditory histories of contemporary Black culture. In thinking about how Q-Tip navigates the intricate pieces of “FOOTPRINTS,” the discussion of his sampling practices lead to a conversation about the importance of the DJ as cultural curator. And two of the most significant DJ curators that we know are DJ Clark Kent (aka God’s Favorite DJ) and Breakbeat Lou (Ultimate Breaks and Beats). This was exciting work to present, as a version of it will soon be published in the forthcoming Bloomsbury Handbook of Hip Hop Pedagogy.


I was extremely thankful to be able to share this research with the ARC Fellows – the level of dialogue after the presentation was spectacular. It also helped me to see how this research is making sense in both academic and non-academic spaces. And of course, the best part of it all was that I got a chance to borrow my oldest daughter’s DJ controller in order to play the music that I was talking about in the research lecture.


Super shout out to Philip Kasinitz, Kay Powell, Whitney Evanson and the Fall 2023 ARC Fellowship cohort. As well, deep and sincere gratitude to Helen and Roger for all you do!


And yes…there’s more coming!!!

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